So, the deleted scenes from the OT are on Youtube, in HD. Check out this guy's channel here:
He hasn't upped all of Jedi's yet, but other people have. Here is an example of one of the better ones, developing Jerjerod and the Emperor:
These were interesting enough that I thought it merited having it's own discussion.
My own thoughts:
-On the whole, they aren't amazing or anything, as they were deleted for reasons, but many of them are pretty good, and all of them are interesting. The quality varies around, but most have sound and colour and they are all in HD.
-It's hard to say which of these were newly edited for inclusion here; for instance, the Yoda and Wampa scenes clearly were never included in any cut of the film. The black and white scenes are from the rough cut (I am assuming). Others seem to have been edited back during the cutting stage as they have audio drop-outs and the like which probably means the cutter went as far as prepping them for rough sound design. The "Vader Reaches Out to Luke" was edited, scored and finished with visual effects, but it's the only one. All of the scenes except that tend to need slightly tighter cutting because they never made it to the fine cut where things would be finessed, and some of the cuts are a bit quick or awkward in places too and never got smoothed out.
-The Luke/Toshistation/Biggs scenes are great to see in better quality than Behind the Magic, with the treadwell scene containing many new shots. To me these are some of the best scenes ever shot for Star Wars, but I agree with the editorial team that the film played better with them left out. Actually, I think critics who accused the film of having little character development would have been partly silenced if these made it in.
-The ESB deleted scenes are the best of the bunch. You can see the imprint of Kershner: the performances are by and large outstanding, and he tends to hold on long takes to emphasize performance, and moves his camera to a new position rather than cutting a lot of the time. The Luke-Leia scene on Hoth is so good I wish it was included in the film from the beginning. It also puts a new spin on the kiss they have--it wasn't just to make Han jealous.
-The sandstorm scene in Jedi was much better than I expected. I actually wish they had done the ADR on here, as it seems like it is a much better and more human farewell scene, compared to the final film where Luke just makes a phone call while he drives. How rude! :p
-The scenes with Jerjerrod having to fire on Endor are terrific and would have really amped up the tension in the end, like the ending to the original film where there is a countdown. I assume it was cut because there was so much going on as it was. It would be interesting to see how coherant the film was if this was put back in.
-The most interesting thing is the possibilities for fan editors. It would great to put them all back in for extended cuts. Even if they didn't play as well as the originals--which they likely wouldn't--to see the films expanded and fleshed out more would be extremely interesting. The footage would not match of course, as the scenes all have some level of dirt and scratches, and some are black and white. I doubt anyone would be willing to restore these beyond matching the colour-timing better. But it would still be cool to see. The sound design wouldn't be impossible to work around. There's also extra lines and unused shots in Empire of Dreams that could be used.
The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!
"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."
--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010